Foreword by Marian Robinson
When he stepped into history's spotlight at the National Democratic Convention, Craig Robinson recalls that nothing could have been more gratifying than introducing his sister, Michelle Obama, to millions of Americans. Within minutes, he won the hearts of the nation by sharing highlights of growing up in the modest Robinson household, where he and his sister were raised by devoted parents who taught them the values of education, and hard work, and the importance of reaching far beyond what even seemed possible.
Those lessons of character were fundamental in shaping Craig Robinson's own remarkable journey: from his days playing street basketball on Chicago's Southside while excelling academically, to admission at Princeton University, where he was later named Ivy League Player of the Year, twice. After playing professionally in Europe, Robinson made an about-face, entering the competitive field of finance. With his MBA from the University of Chicago, his meteoric rise landed him a partnership in a promising new venture. But another dream beckoned, and Craig made the unusual decision to forgo the trappings of money and status in the business world in order to become a basketball coach. He soon helped transform three struggling teams-as an assistant coach at Northwestern, then as head coach at Brown, and now at Oregon State University. In his first season at OSU, he navigated what was declared to be one of the nation's best single season turnarounds.
In A Game of Character, Robinson takes readers behind the scenes to meet his most important influences in his understanding of the winning traits that are part of his playbook for success. Central to his story are his parents, Marian and Fraser, two indefatigable individuals who showed their children how to believe in themselves and live their lives with conviction through love, discipline, and respect. With insights into this exemplary family, we relive memories of how Marian sacrificed a career to be a full-time mom, how Fraser got up and went to work every day while confronting the challenges of multiple sclerosis, and how Craig and Michelle strengthened their bond as they journeyed out of the Southside to Princeton University and, eventually, the national stage.
Heartwarming, inspiring, and even transformational, A Game of Character comes just at the right time in an era of change, reminding readers of the opportunity to work together and embrace the character of our nation, to make a difference in the lives of others, and to pave the way for the next generation.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.84(w) x 8.62(h) x 1.15(d)|
|Age Range:||18 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Prior to joining Oregon State, Craig spent two years as the head coach at Brown, leading a revival of the Bears’ program. He won more games in his first two years than any other head coach in Brown’s basketball history and was named Ivy League Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year by Basketball-U.com. Before Brown, Craig spent six seasons with the Northwestern Wildcats under head coach Bill Carmody, where he developed and implemented his local, national, and international recruiting technology. Craig Robinson currently lives in Oregon with his wife, Kelly, and his children.
Table of Contents
Foreword Marian Robinson ix
Pregame: Tests of Character xiii
Part I Fundamentals 1
1 Meet the Home Team 3
2 Robinson Family Values: Love, Discipline, Respect 22
3 Know Who You Are and Live Your Life with Conviction 43
4 Be Relentless: You Have to Win to Stay on the Court 64
5 Don't Be Afraid to Be Smart and Cool 75
6 The Correct Choice May Not Be the Right Choice 89
Part II On the Road 99
7 From the Southside of Chicago to Princeton 101
8 Learn the Game, Not Just Your Position 117
9 Luck Is Just Another Word for Hard Work 128
10 Character Is Shaped by Choices Made Every Step of the Way 140
11 Expect the Best but Prepare for the Unexpected 151
Part III A New Season 165
12 Building a Strong Family Is like Building a Strong Team 167
13 A Strategy for Change Starts with the Belief That You Can Win 181
14 Playing a New Position 193
15 Be Relentless: You Have to Win to Stay on the Court (Reprise) 205
Part IV Full-Court Press 217
16 What Would Fraser Robinson Say? 219
17 Harnessing Energy, Seizing Momentum 227
18 The Character of a Nation 237
Postgame: We All Have a Window of Opportunity 251
What People are Saying About This
"The First Lady's brother looks back on the childhood that shaped them"
"A celebration of the people who've shaped Robinson's life"
"Robinson's book covers life and business advice transmitted through stories of sports and family life. Robinson recounts the genuinely charming story of a truly strong family."
"If you cherish your dad, or deeply miss a father who has passed away, you will love the way Robinson describes Fraser Robinson throughout the book, the father who called him "Cat.'"
"Craig Robinson chronicles his childhood with Michelle and their parents' first impressions of Barack Obama. The book is sprinkled with life lessons on how these siblings excelled and how Craig Robinson, when confronted with challenge including a rocky academic start at Princeton University and a first marriage that ended in divorce picked himself up."
"Craig doesn't profess to know the specifics of politics the way he knows the X's and O's of basketball. But I think what he does understand is the need to wake up every morning doing your best and having a positive attitude. And him communicating that to me was always very helpful."
-President Barack Obama
"He's smart as a whip."
-Bill Grier, Head Coach of the University of San Diego basketball team
"He helped elect a president."
-The New York Times
"Craig's understanding of character and his sound judgment for how to win on any court, clearly learned in the extraordinary household where he grew up, are unsurpassed. The lessons he shares in this book provide a playbook for success that can be applied by anyone. It's been a joy to witness his remarkable journey."
-Bill Carmody, Men's Basketball Coach, Northwestern University
"Robinson lays out enough family history to keep Obamaphiles sated he mentions Michelle about every 10 pages while using most of the book to relate his philosophy of life, love and, above all, basketball."
"A Game of Character offers insight into the challenges faced and overcome by a tightly-knit family that just happened to become famous. The book attempts to depict the origins of the emotional fortitude, moral character, and empathy shown by Mrs. Obama and shared by Mr. Robinson, while providing a timely example of hard-won success through adversity."
"For many years the role of family historian-the 'keeper of the family lore' as Craig puts it-had belonged to his father, my late husband, Fraser Robinson. Without Fraser here to keep those stories alive, they were in danger of becoming lost and Craig was determined not to let them go, but instead to take up his father's mantle of storyteller, motivator, and philosopher-in-chief. Craig has risen to the challenge with A Game of Character, a book that not only pays tribute to his parents (and to all parents, teachers, mentors, and coaches, for that matter) but also honors a beautiful brother-sister relationship and all sibling, family, and community relationships."
-Marian Robinson (from the foreword)
Craig's understanding of character and his sound judgment for how to win on any court, clearly learned in the extraordinary household where he grew up, are unsurpassed. The lessons he shares in this book provide a playbook for success that can be applied by anyone. It's been a joy to witness his remarkable journey. (Bill Carmody, Men's Basketball Coach, Northwestern University)
For many years the role of family historian - the "keeper of the family lore" as Craig puts it - had belonged to his father, my late husband, Fraser Robinson. Without Fraser here to keep those stories alive, they were in danger of becoming lost and Craig was determined not to let them go, but instead to take up his father's mantle of storyteller, motivator, and Philosopher-in-Chief. Craig has risen to the challenge with A Game of Character, a book that not only pays tribute to his parents (and to all parents, teachers, mentors, and coaches for that matter) but also honors a beautiful brother-sister relationship and all sibling, family, and community relationships.